Watkins leads Indians to SEC White championship

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Paige Watkins has recently recorded season-best scores for the Indians. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

Everyone struggled with tough downhill slopes on the greens of the Lenawee Country Club during the Southeastern Conference (SEC) girls golf tournament at the Lenawee Country Club on Monday but Tecumseh managed to conquer the course and finish first in the White division and third overall as hosts of the event.

The Indians carded a total of 382 while Saline had 360 and Ann Arbor Pioneer, 368.

Dexter placed second in the White Division with a score of 392 and was followed by Chelsea (394), Lincoln (457) and Ypsilanti (501).

“The girls were not happy with their games today, but what they failed to realize was that everyone was struggling,” said Tecumseh coach Kerry Smith. “They really had a tough time putting, but everyone did. If you got above the hole... lookout! They are used to the pace, but Hantz doesn’t have the undulations that you find at Lenawee.”

During the tournament, eight-player all-conference teams were named for each division and three of Tecumseh’s girls were selected to the White Division squad. Tecumseh’s Paige Watkins earned the second most points for the season, after missing the Huron-Skyline tri-match, with 124 points. Becca Nowak was fifth with 113.5 points while LaPlant was 6th with 111 points.

Watkins carded 88 at the SEC tournament and was medalist for the White Division and fourth overall.

Carley LaPlant recorded 95 for Tecumseh and placed fourth in the White division and tied for eighth overall. Leigh Kapnick finished with a personal best 98 and tied for fifth place in the White Division.

Nowak is suffering from a lower back injury and finished with a 101. Anneka Hart shot a personal best 106 for an 18-hole event.

“I am so happy for them. One of their goals for the season was to win the White Division Championship,” said Tecumseh coach Kerry Smith.

Tecumseh hosted Ann Arbor Pioneer and Saline on Friday, Sept. 21 at their home course, the Hantz Golf Club, and lost by several strokes to each opponent. The Indians lost 172-180 against the Pioneers and 177-180 against the Hornets.

Despite carrying a headache along with her golf bag, Watkins recorded a birdie and a season low 12 putts to score 40 on the par 36-front nine.
Hart birdied the first hole and chipped in an eagle on the ninth hole for a personal best 43, a nine-stroke improvement from her previous card on Wednesday.

“Anneka played inspired golf today,” said coach Smith. “I’ve been telling her all season that she’s not playing to her potential. She sure proved it today! The whole team was excited for her.”

LaPlant recorded a 47 for the Indians while teammate Leigh Kapnick carded 50.

Nowak, one of Tecumseh’s consistent low score golfers, struggled with lower back pain and shot 54.

“She was in so much pain today. I wanted her to withdraw, but she wouldn't have it,” said Smith.

Tecumseh’s Keisha Batra carded 61 while Paige Rupley recorded 67.

Tecumseh finished its regular Southeastern Conference season with a 6-4 record but is undefeated at 4-0 in the White Division. The Indians lost four matches by a total of only 13 strokes.

Watkins led the field of 81 golfers at the Coldwater Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 20, with a career-best seven-over-par 79. She was the only player to shoot in the 70s and she received medalist honors and a plaque commemorating her accomplishment.

“I was really nervous going into the last hole,” Watkins said. “I knew I was six over and I really wanted to break 80. I knew I could three-putt and still score a 79. I should have made that second putt, but my hands were shaking.”

Tecumseh placed seventh out of 16 competing teams, with a score of 379. Hanover-Horton carded 347: Battle Creek Lakeview, 356; Kalamazoo Hackett, 357; Jackson High, 368; St. Joseph, 368; and Hillsdale Academy, 370.

Nowak was disappointed after carding 97, as was LaPlant with a 101.

Kapnick carded 102 while Hart shot 112.

Tecumseh picked up a 186-192 victory over White Division foe Dexter at home on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Watkins led all golfers with a 41 while Nowak carded 45. LaPlant, had 49: Kapnick, 51; Hart, 52; Batra, 58 and Rupley, 63.

The Indians next play at the Onsted Invitational on Friday, Sept. 27, at Devils Lake Golf Club.




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